Armstrong would race clean now but not in 1995

Mon Jan 26, 2015 1:21pm EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

LONDON (Reuters) - Banned cyclist Lance Armstrong says he would not have needed to resort to doping in the sport's current era and what happened years ago should be seen in the context of the times.

"If I was racing in 2015, no, I wouldn't do it again because I don't think you have to," the Texan told the BBC in an interview on Monday.

"If you take me back to 1995, when doping was completely pervasive, I would probably do it again."

A cancer survivor and once a hero to millions, Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France victories and banned for life from racing in 2012 by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency after it accused him in a report of engineering one of the most sophisticated doping schemes in sports.

Following his return from cancer in the late 1990s, Armstrong was regularly subjected to claims of doping, which he stoutly refuted until the release of USADA's "reasoned decision".

The 200-page document -- supported by a further 1,000 pages of evidence -- finally led to Armstrong's confession in an interview with US chat-show host Oprah Winfrey in January 2013.

"When I made the decision (to dope in 1995), when my team made that decision, when the whole peloton made that decision, it was a bad decision and an imperfect time," he said.

"But it happened. And I know what happened because of that. I know what happened to the sport, I saw its growth."

Armstrong said he regretted the "unacceptable and inexcusable" behavior with which he subjected other riders and figures within the sport during numerous attempts to rubbish their allegations of doping.   Continued...

Lance Armstrong, founder of the LIVESTRONG foundation, takes part in a special session regarding cancer in the developing world during the Clinton Global Initiative in New York September 22, 2010.  REUTERS/Lucas Jackson